Acute cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection
Acute cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection is a condition caused by a member of the herpesvirus family.
See also: Mononucleosis
Mononucleosis can be caused by several different viruses and a few types of bacteria. Unlike the more common form of mononucleosis, caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), acute CMV infection is caused by cytomegalovirus.
In most people with a normal immune system, CMV infection does not cause any symptoms. But some people with this infection develop a "mononucleosis syndrome."
The infection is spread by:
- Blood transfusions
- Respiratory droplets
- Sexual contact
Some young children release the virus in their urine for a long period of time, even when they do not have symptoms. CMV infection may occur at any age. It most commonly develops between ages 10 - 35.
Most people are exposed to CMV early in life and do not realize it because they have no symptoms. People with a compromised immune system can have a more severe form of the disease.
- Enlarged lymph nodes, especially in the neck
- Frequent tiredness or fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle aches or stiffness
- Sore throat
Less common symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Irregular heart rate
- Neck stiffness
- Rapid heart rate
- Sensitivity to light
- Shortness of breath
- Swollen spleen
Most patients recover in 4 - 6 weeks without medication. Rest is needed, sometimes for a month or longer to regain full activity levels. Painkillers and warm salt water gargles can help relieve symptoms.
Antiviral medications are usually not used in people with normal immune function.
Fever usually goes away in 10 days, and swollen lymph glands and spleen return to normal in 4 weeks. Fatigue may linger for 2 to 3 months.
CMV infection can be contagious if the infected person comes in close or intimate contact with another person. You should avoid kissing and sexual contact with an infected person.
The virus may also spread among young children in day care settings.